How to maintain hair health

Nicki Devilbiss

Maintaining hair health can be key to feeling beautiful and boosting self-confidence.

Washing hair less often is one way to maintain hair health. Brooke Schroeder, a stylist at Studio7 Salon and Spa in Ames, recommended washing hair every two to three days rather than daily. She said washing hair frequently builds up oil, resulting in oily hair. However, finer hair requires more frequent washes.

Libby Heinz, a stylist and educator at Serenity Couture in Ames, explained the link between washing hair daily and oil production.

“What that does is strip your hair of natural oils and nutrients,” Heinz said.

To compensate, the oil glands produce more oil. The result is greasy hair, Heinz said.

Robin Allen, senior in integrated studio arts, said she washes her hair every other night.

“By allowing my hair a day in between washes, it doesn’t get so brittle,” Allen said. “The natural oils have time to be absorbed.”

Allen abstains from washing hair daily to avoid damaging her hair.

“I blow dry my hair and then either curl or straighten it after,” Allen said. “If I were to wash it every day, it would get more damaged.”

Heinz recommended weekly treatments to maintain hair health. Protein treatments are appropriate for summer, while dry treatments are best for winter. She also recommended post-color treatments. With ombre styles popular among college students, post-color treatments are ideal for sealing in color and preventing damage.

Damage and hair dye are sometimes synonymous. Schroeder recalled her own experience with damaged hair.

“I colored my hair blonde… I did not use any treatments in my hair and it felt kind of like straw,” Schroeder said.

Heinz encountered damaged hair as a result of experimentation. She said beauty school made her to want to dye her hair red one day and blonde the next.

“Beauty school is the worst time in a girl’s life for hair,” Heinz said.

Despite their experience with damaged hair, Schroeder and Heinz both said they successfully nurtured their hair back to health. Schroeder used weekly treatments and recommended them for their ability to put protein and keratin back into hair.

Heinz replaced conditioner with treatments twice a week to repair damage caused by dye.

Heinz suggested avoiding box dyes. Additives and fillers present in box dyes prevent hair from growing and obtaining shine. However, she said it is not necessarily harmful to dye hair.

Kaela Burmeister, senior in architecture, said dying her hair did not result in extensive damage.

“I recently dyed it a dark burgundy. Naturally, my hair is thick and soft,” Burmeister said. “After dying it, my ends are a little drier, but my hair is still thick and soft.”

Heinz recommended seeking a professional stylist to dye hair and treating hair in the event that dyed hair is desired.

While weekly treatments are a great investment, coconut oil is an alternative for students on a budget, Heinz said.

“Coconut oil is a really great at-home treatment for your hair during dry months,” Heinz said.

Heinz combs coconut oil through her ends, followed by pulling the oil through her hair with a brush. She secures her hair in a top knot overnight and rinses out the oil the next morning. She said the result is “shinier, healthier hair.”

Healthy hair is the key to beautiful hair.

“Beautiful hair starts with healthy hair,” Heinz said.

Burmeister said healthy hair is important to her, because she enjoys experimenting with new styles.

“My hair is one of my favorite qualities,” Burmeister said. “I love trying new styles and because of that, it is important to me that my hair does stay healthy.”